At long last, and after a gruelling year of delay, avoidance, non-cooperation and obfuscation from Nick Griffin, the day of my employment tribunal for unfair dismissal finally arrived, although not without a last desperate, oily attempt to extricate himself , however temporarily.
Six days before we were to appear in the Bristol Tribunal Court, Griffin requested an adjournment on the grounds that he had recently undergone a minor throat operation on 28th May and had been issued with a doctor’s certificate until 12th June. Unfortunately this wasn’t quite long enough to carry him past the scheduled tribunal dates of 15/16/17 June, so he pleaded that he ‘fully expected’ to be issued with a further sick note. He also claimed that he had been advised not to go out in public ‘for fear of infection’. Unhappily for him, he had held a party the previous weekend and had also been dumb enough to allow himself to be filmed by BNPtv at a meeting in Stroud on Wednesday 9th for all to see. The judge refused his request for adjournment.
Undaunted, Griffin made a second plea 2 days later, still citing that he mustn’t go out in public ‘for fear of infection’. Somehow, this didn’t seem to tally with his jolly tweet that preparations for the Trafalgar Club dinner were in full swing, an event to be held in a tent in his garden, drinks at 7, dinner at 8. This was followed by a BNPtv video of him surrounded by TC members who looked pretty hacked off that he’d been so lacking in foresight as to plan the event on the very night of England’s first World Cup match. Not surprisingly, the judge denied his second request, having been acquainted of his multiple public appearances whilst claiming that he was in ‘isolation’. Thus, when Griffin took the stand, Bible in hand and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the judges knew he had already lied to them.
It was obvious from the outset that Griffin really didn’t want this tribunal to go ahead. He wasted the entire first morning of the hearing in sending his very expensive barrister scuttling back and forth like an errand boy to make a series of derisory settlement offers, which were rejected out of hand.
The hearing then began on the judge’s insistence at 1.30pm with an immediate admission from Griffin’s barrister that I had, without question, been unfairly dismissed, procedurally. In layman’s terms, Griffin was admitting that he had not followed the correct procedures under employment law but that he still felt I’d ‘asked for it’. He then spent 3 hours on the stand venomously spouting the most ridiculous lies about me. Fortunately, my solicitor (I couldn’t afford a barrister since unlike Mr. Griffin I’m paying my own legal costs) had her wits about her and gave Griffin a very hard time indeed. This is the advantage of hiring an employment law specialist rather than the conveyancing specialist who had ‘prepared’ Griffin’s case.
On being questioned about the role of Adlorries, Griffin told the court that it had been set up specifically so that the party could transact business since mainstream banks and other suppliers would have nothing to do with the party. My solicitor then suggested that it must have been set up sometime after November 2007 since that was the date on Dowson’s contract. ‘Yes’ said Griffin. ‘Strange’ says my solicitor, ‘..because according to Companies House, Adlorries was registered in October 2004, a full 3 years before Dowson’s involvement with the party.’ Griffin’s face reddened, having been caught out fibbing.
He was also cross examined by the judge who really screwed him into the ground, consistently asking ‘Where is your evidence, Mr. Griffin?’ ‘When did this happen, Mr. Griffin?’, ‘Was this minuted, Mr. Griffin?’, ‘Who exactly told you this, Mr. Griffin?’ to which Griffin replied, ‘I don’t exactly recall’, ‘It must have been sometime in March or April, or even June’, ‘I heard it on the grapevine, the rumour mill, Jim Dowson must have told me’.
Nick Griffin couldn’t give a truthful or even credible answer to anything he was asked because he knew nothing other than the poison Dowson had poured into his ears and had not a single shred of evidence to support anything he said. Unfortunately for Griffin, the gospel according to the Rev. Jim Dowson doesn’t constitute evidence in a court of law. The more he was browbeaten the more vicious he became. At one point I actually thought he might leap across the courtroom to attack me, so frustrated was he. But then, given the sycophantic deference which Griffin has come to expect from his worshippers, I think it came as a devastating shock to him that the judge was totally indifferent to his ‘status’ and treated him as he would any other common or garden respondent being sued.
It should be a matter of interest to members that during the course of his cross examination about the anti abortion database sent to the Stroud office, Griffin said, in defence of Dowson, ‘Jim can hardly work a computer’ and only moments later, ‘Jim is a technical cretin’.
I almost laughed out loud at this description of the man Griffin has consistently touted as our ‘industry expert’ and whose ‘knowledge and skill’ has ‘transformed the party’.
One wonders whether he’d have been quite so uncomplimentary if Dowson had been present in court on that first day. This much is clear, however. Griffin has been lying to the members all along about Dowson’s ‘abilities’. I knew this. Donna and Lee Hancock knew this. Dowson knew we knew this, and it’s no doubt part of the reason he had to get rid of us.
One of the silliest allegations Griffin made was that, while I was very efficient when working from home, managing an office had proved beyond my capabilities. In front of the judges was my witness statement outlining that for 15 years I had managed 25 staff as a senior manager of a well known national publishing company. I think the judges had worked out for themselves that, had I been an incompetent manager, I would not have lasted 15 years in a highly professional and competitive organisation. In addition to this, I had submitted samples of over 60 e.mails from party members and staff attesting to my efficiency. One from Jim Dowson described me as a ‘true professional’ and another from Nick Griffin read, ‘I have the highest regard for your loyalty, work rate and administrative competence which is why you got the thankless task of bringing us firmly within the law on this issue (contracts) in the first place’.
It is incongruous, is it not, that Griffin then sacked me precisely for trying to keep the party within the law? Of course, keeping within the law is inconvenient for some people, as we’ve seen time and time again, at a crippling cost to members.
So ended the first day at 4.30pm. As we were about to leave I got the biggest surprise of the day. Griffin’s beleaguered barrister hastened along to say that Mr. Griffin would like to offer me full reinstatement to my job. At this point I knew that he was a very, very worried man. I thanked his barrister for the offer but asked him to tell Mr. Griffin that, following the lies and vitriol I had just heard directed at me in court, I was at a loss to understand why he would want to re-appoint such a compete incompetent onto his staff, and to forgive me if I was somewhat cynical of his motives.
Day two of the tribunal began with a ‘without prejudice’ doubling of the settlement offer made the previous day. This was politely declined. A further increased offer was made and again declined. It was, by then, obvious that Griffin was desperate to avoid Dowson having to take the stand that day, and even more desperate that neither I nor my witnesses should take the stand. He had read all our witness statements and didn’t want us to be heard, particularly as the press had now turned up. Another increased offer was made PLUS reinstatement to work part time from home. By now I was convinced that Griffin had a real problem in understanding why I wouldn’t want to come back and work for him. Despite assurances from Pat Harrington of Solidarity that Griffin genuinely wanted me back as my skills had been sorely missed, I’m afraid that I’m just not stupid enough or vain enough to fall for the blarney.
A further offer ensued with the admission that I had been unfairly dismissed both procedurally AND substantively. In other words they now admitted that I had not ‘asked for it’. I was also assured that the party would provide me with a ‘glowing reference’. My answer was that any reference from the party would be as valuable in finding a job as a reference from Osama bin Laden. Griffin’s brief was barely able to suppress his laughter.
Griffin’s barrister then approached my solicitor just 2 minutes before the tribunal was due to re-convene and told her that Mr. Griffin wanted to know what I would be prepared to settle for, to name my price. My solicitor was doubtful that they would accept what I asked for but I told her that it was a risk I was prepared to take and that if they refused then we would simply walk back into the court and have our say openly.
Griffin then made the only sensible decision of his life and completely caved in.
I was required to sign an undertaking that I would not ‘publish the terms of the settlement’ and I am prepared to abide by that, but I also insisted that the salacious lies written about me by the author of the misnamed BNP ‘Truth’ Chronicles , be removed immediately otherwise a libel suit would follow. By the time I reached home, all reference to me had been deleted. If members feel they have a right to know what Griffin’s folly and lack of judgement have cost them, I suggest, since he was the party’s representative in court and the person responsible for my dismissal, that they ask him directly.
What serious and responsible members now have to consider is whether a man who makes so many ill judged and rash decisions before considering all the possible consequences, is fit to be their leader or deserves their support. Donations have all but dried up due to the now endemic mistrust of Dowson and Griffin and their lack of financial transparency, and the party is on the brink of bankruptcy. It is very possible that the punitive damages awarded to Unilever for Griffin’s monumentally stupid use of their Marmite logo, will see the party fold.
If anything has become clear to me over the past year, it is that Griffin genuinely believes he is untouchable and above the law – in effect, a dictator.
No man can become a dictator of his own accord. Dictators are created by sychophants who have neither the will nor intelligence to exercise any independent discrimination or moral judgement upon the object of their idolatry, and by craven cowards who cave in to threats and intimidation. Dictators are very skilled at manipulating people, preying on their fears and emotions. One only has to listen to Griffin’s ‘passionate’ speeches or to read Dowson’s melodramatic appeal letters, to know that this is precisely what they are doing in order to prompt you to part with your hard earned cash. And it’s your hard earned cash that is being profligately wasted in defending the party against the expensive consequences of Griffin’s wanton spite and stupidity.
One wonders whether Mr. Griffin would exercise more reason and moderation were he obliged to fund his incessant court costs from his own wallet?
Griffinite members of the party must bear responsibility for what he has become. He is a monster of their own creation. For years they have fawned upon him, bloated his ego out of all proportion to reality, encouraged him to believe he can do no wrong and that he isn’t subject to the laws, restrictions and codes of morality that determine decent conduct for the rest of us mere mortals.
In this respect they do a great disservice to the nationalist cause by continuing to empower a tin pot dictator who will ultimately betray them, as he has betrayed so many good people. That is Griffin’s tragedy. As true nationalists, it is also ours.
I would wish to make it known that I did not proceed against Nick Griffin for monetary gain. I did so to strike back on behalf of all the good nationalists he has betrayed, sacked, suspended, expelled and ill used over many, many years. I did it to deter him from ever again wantonly depriving honest nationalists of their livelihoods and wrecking their lives in the process. I hope, for their sakes, that I’ve succeeded.
July 14th 2010
As a postscript to this statement, I am now able to inform you all that Mr. Nick Griffin MEP, who gave a signed undertaking in court in front of three tribunal judges, his own barrister, my solicitor, two of my witnesses and a journalist, to pay the agreed settlement by 14th July, has reneged on his word. Further legal proceedings against him, and other party officers, to recover the amount of the settlement have now begun.